Mission, History and Purpose
The mission of the National Environmental Health Science & Protection Accreditation Council (EHAC) is to enhance the education and training of students in environmental health science and protection. The EHAC Council develops and applies accreditation guidelines for institutions of higher education that wish to ensure premium quality education and training of environmental health science and protection practitioners.
In 1967, the National Accreditation Council for Environmental Health Curricula was established to implement a program accrediting undergraduate and graduate programs in the field of environmental health. The name of the Council was changed to the National Environmental Health Science and Protection Accreditation Council in 1991 to better reflect the entire discipline considered by the Council.
Throughout its history, the Council has consistently worked to upgrade the quality of education and training delivered by the programs it accredits. The Council has established specific criteria for undergraduate and graduate program accreditation, which include standards for curriculum, faculty, program funding, enrollment, and management aspects of the programs. These criteria provide a foundational core for a quality educational program and are regularly reviewed and updated to meet the demanding and changing needs of the marketplace.
The purpose of EHAC is six- fold. The Council:
- Promotes a high quality education for persons studying environmental health science and protection.
- Assists and supports universities and colleges developing or offering a curriculum in environmental health science and protection, advising them on curriculum content and faculty qualifications.
- Promotes commonality in coverage of basic concepts of environmental health science and protection education.
- Promotes undergraduate curricula of a quality and content compatible with admission prerequisites of graduate programs in environmental health science and protection.
- Evaluates academic programs in environmental health science and protection using criteria established by the Council.
- Publishes a list of the institutions with programs accredited by the Council.
EHAC Encourages Innovative Program Design
Studying the discipline of environmental health exposes students to one of the most diverse career opportunities in the world. A graduate of an EHAC accredited environmental health degree program may find a career in a variety of focus areas such as food safety, vector control, industrial hygiene (occupational health and safety), water safety, or they may find themselves working more broadly on topics like climate change or pandemic response. EHAC accreditation criteria are focused on core sciences and other framework requirements (i.e. internships, lab experiences, and community advisory committees) that form a comprehensive learning experience designed to produce graduates who are well prepared to respond to a variety of environmental health challenges.
EHAC understands the importance and value of the diverse nature of the environmental health field and the academic degree programs that support this field. We recognize the need to be flexible with programs that evolve to meet the need of the profession or the times, as illustrated by the migration to online learning during the current COVID-19 pandemic. We are aware of the many challenges facing environmental health degree programs and encourage institutions to be creative in designing innovative curricula that accommodates alternative pedagogy to support the needs of students and the practice community, and are economically viable for their college or university, while maintaining their expected rigor. EHAC is eager to support innovative degree program designs that fully meet accreditation criteria, encourage enrollment, and create competent and motivated environmental health graduates.